Stojan "Stojko" Vranković (born January 22 1964, in Drniš, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia) is a retired Croatian Basketball player.
A 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) Center (basketball), he played 5 seasons (1990–1992; 1996–1999) in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Los Angeles Clippers. He was very popular in Europe while playing for Athens-based Panathinaikos and winning the club's first Euroleague Championship.
A renowned Block (basketball), he made little impact in the NBA, managing small minutes and a low scoring average. He did however have a major impact in Europe playing for Greek team Panathinaikos. In 1996, he combined with Dominique Wilkins to lead Panathinaikos to a Euroleague Final Four Championship - a first for the club. Vranković's defensive contributions were vital, namely his block of Zeljko Rebraca at the buzzer, in the third game of the quarter-finals against Benetton Treviso, seeing Panathinaikos through. In the final, his block to deny FC Barcelona (basketball) the lead in the last second, gave the game a dramatic end, before falling to the ground in the ensuing hustle and clutching his knee in pain on the buzzer.In an interview on the official Final Four website, Panathinaikos captain Panagiotis Giannakis described the incident as follows:
- "All that happened at the end of the game is unbelievable, a few seconds that lasted one century! I remember Stojko (Vrankovic) running like...Carl Lewis from one side to the other to stop (José Antonio) Montero. He blocked the layup almost at the buzzer and he sealed the victory."
National team Edit
Vranković earned a silver medal at the Basketball with the Yugoslavia national basketball team. But his most memorable moment was in the following Basketball with his then newly-independent Croatia, winning silver in the men's final against the United States men's national basketball team.
Friendship with Dražen Petrović Edit
Vranković was a close friend of fellow basketball player Dražen Petrović. He was a coffin bearer at Petrovic's funeral in 1993 and has been active in commemorating his memory. In an article on the FIBA website concerning the opening of a museum in Dražen's honour, Vranković is quoted:
Drazen's colleague and friend, Stojko Vrankovic, said at the opening of the museum: "I would like to thank all those involved in creating this place, so children would be able to learn more about 'basketball's Amadeus'".
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